“NWMO broadens its international cooperation”

The Nuclear Waste Management Organization announced today – through the World Nuclear News – that it had signed another set of agreements to share information with a group of companies all pretty similar to themselves. The agreements were signed as part of the opening show of a meeting of the “International Association for Environmentally Safe Disposal of Radioactive Materials”. EDRAM is made up of proponents of nuclear waste burial projects, none of them yet approved or operating, despite decades of effort.

15 May 2018

Canada’s Nuclear Waste Management Organization (NWMO) has signed or renewed cooperation agreements with counterparts from five countries: Belgium, France, Sweden, Switzerland and the UK. The organisation has previously signed such agreements with nuclear waste management organisations in Finland, South Korea and Japan.

NWMO-Nagra - May 2018 - 460 (NWMO)
NWMO’s Swami (right), signs an agreement with Thomas Ernst, CEO of Nagra
(Image: NWMO)

NWMO signed or renewed cooperation agreements with Belgian national radioactive waste management agency Ondraf; French radioactive waste management agency Andra; Swedish waste and fuel management company Svensk Kärnbränslehantering AB; Switzerland’s national radioactive waste disposal cooperative Nagra; and the Radioactive Waste Management Limited subsidiary of the UK’s Nuclear Decommissioning Authority.

The agreements were signed yesterday in Toronto at the opening reception of the International Association for Environmentally Safe Disposal of Radioactive Materials’ (EDRAM’s) annual meeting. EDRAM promotes the exchange of knowledge among member countries.

NWMO President and CEO Laurie Swami said, “As our work to identify a single, preferred site for a deep geological repository intensifies, now is the perfect time to renew and sign knowledge-sharing agreements with our international partners. These agreements ensure we are applying the best international practice to Canada’s plan for the safe, long-term management of used nuclear fuel, and sharing our experience with our global counterparts.”

NWMO is implementing Canada’s plan for the long-term management of used nuclear fuel. The organisation was created in 2002 by Canada’s nuclear electricity producers. Ontario Power Generation, NB Power and Hydro-Québec are the founding members and, along with Atomic Energy of Canada Limited, fund NWMO’s operations. The NWMO operates on a not-for-profit basis and derives its mandate from the federal Nuclear Fuel Waste Act.

The organisation launched the process to find a suitable site for a Canadian repository in 2010, and has progressively narrowed down study areas from a list of 21 communities that registered interest. Five sites – all in Ontario – now remain: Ignace, Hornepayne, Huron-Kinloss, Manitouwadge and South Bruce. The NWMO completed drilling of its first borehole at Ignace in January, and has said it expects to be able to select the preferred site for detailed site characterisation by around 2023.

Kim Rudd, parliamentary secretary to Canada’s Minister of Natural Resources Jim Carr, attended yesterday’s signing ceremony and said: “As it makes steady progress in implementing Canada’s plan, I am pleased that the NWMO is sharing Canadian research and innovation with the rest of the world, and learning from the experiences and knowledge of other countries. Collaboration of this sort is vital in the global imperative to safely manage used nuclear fuel to protect people and the environment.”

Researched and written
by World Nuclear News

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